August 30, 2017, Tampa, FL
When most people think of sex trafficking victims, minds typically go to young, vulnerable girls. However, we have helped quite a few young men who have been exploited. Most of the time it is very difficult to find a safe place for them to heal.
Until now, there were no homes for boys in the entire state specifically focused on helping victims of human trafficking.
The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), a nonprofit group based in Tampa, is changing this by opening one of the first homes for boys in the nation.
This home will fill up fast because it meets such an important need in our state. They have already admitted their first resident.
Our PR Director, Frances Lee, was on hand during the exciting grand opening. (Lee with CEO Geoff Rogers, left)
“It’s a big day for the boys, young kids who have been trafficked who previously have not had anywhere they could go suitable for their needs,” said Geoff Rogers, CEO of USIAT. “There is an absolute dire need for housing for these kids and their care across the country.”
The home will give each boy the privacy of their own bedroom and bathroom. They will also receive trauma therapy and education while living there. To help protect them from further exploitation, residents are not allowed to have cell phones or access to the internet.
We are incredibly excited about this fantastic resource to our state. A reported 356 children were the victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Florida last year but the state had only 28 safe beds, according to a report by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
We need safe beds for adults and children. There is still much work to be done.